Beyond

When the talented Netherlands-based artist Karski teamed up with the brand Tia Maria, not only was a splendid abstract design – with one-of-a-kind colors – launched for a new drink, but an elegant book, CONTRAST, was produced, as well. With its splendid selection of images by first-rate international artists and its informative, engaging text, CONTRAST — by Karski and friends — is a cause for celebration.

A small sampling of images from CONTRAST follows:

 Karski, Untitled, Mixed media, Amsterdam, 2019

Karski and Netherlands-based Beyond — who have been working as a duo since 2012 — Untitled, PowWow Festival, Rotterdam, 2019

Karski and Beyond, Untitled, Bjelovar, Croatia, 2017

Karski and Beyond. The Holy Stork, The Hauge, 2019

Brazilian artist Sipros — whom Karski first met in 2013 when he had traveled to São Paulo to paint at the MuBE, the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture and Ecology — Four faces, Big ears, Wynwood Arts District, Miami, 2019

The legendary NYC-based Chris “Daze” Ellis — one of Karski’s early inspirations — Untitled, NYC, 2016

Venezuela-born, Munich-based SatOne, Counterbalance, Frankston, Australia, 2019

In addition to the captivating artworks, among the many items of interest in CONTRAST is the fascinating chronology of Karski’s life as an artist — from the moment he picked up a spray can at age 10 to his recent experimentation with abstract work. And wonderfully intriguing, too, are the artists’ intimate impressions of one another.

Also featured in CONTRAST are: the Netherlands-based duo TelmoMeil; Amsterdam-born, Buenos Aires-based Nasepop; Rotterdam-based duo Bier En Brood; Amsterdam-based Stefan Nikolai Ormeling; Colombian native Zurikt; the late Spanish artist Treze and London-based Bonzai.

A paean to contemporary street art and to the notion of bringing together opposites in a world of contrasts, the limited-edition CONTRAST delights!

Images courtesy Karski and Tia Maria

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beyond-graffiti

Since we first discovered Karin du Maire‘s Instagram account, we’ve been fans of her hugely impressive documentation of street art and graffiti. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with her.

We love your documentation of the current street art and graffiti scene – in NYC and in your travels. When did you first turn your lens to urban culture, particularly street art?  

As a travel photographer, I developed a strong interest in urban culture in 2006 while in Rio de Janeiro photographing Passinho dancers in the city’s favelas. At about that time, I started paying more attention to the background, and I began using abandoned buildings as settings. And back here in NYC, I often combined my visits to MoMA PS1 in Long Island City with 5Pointz, where I particularly loved photographing B-boy battles.

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Are you formally trained as a photographer?

No, I studied Business, and I earned an MBA degree from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. But I’ve taken courses in photography at SVA and I’ve participated in B&H’s Event Space workshops. I also ran a Twitter chat focusing on photography.

When did you first become interested in photography? 

It was a passion of mine in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And then in the late 90’s, I began getting paid assignments as a travel photographer.

You’ve photographed dozens of artists at work. How have they responded to you?

In general, they’ve been very welcoming. They appreciate my photography skills and the exposure that I offer them. I always ask for permission first, and I share my photos with them. Many artists have become my friends, and it is fun to chat and watch them paint.

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What are some of the challenges that you face in the work you are now doing?

Keeping up with all that is happening on the streets; wanting to capture an image when the light is wrong or when there are cars in the way, and trying to help artists by arranging walls for them.

What — would you say — is your current mission?

There is an intrinsic reward in what I am doing – documenting creativity and helping artists grow. And coming from a travel photography background, I would like to get sponsored to photograph street art in different places.

Do you have any particularly memorable experiences from your work here in NYC?

Watching Nychos paint at Coney Art Walls – his amazing raw energy as he sketched freehand.

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Any favorite cities?

Rio de Janeiro and London are among my favorites.

Any proud accomplishments from documenting art on the streets?

My proudest accomplishments generally involve capturing someone in the right place at the right time. It’s the split second that makes the difference! I was so happy, for example, to meet and photograph Sebas Rivas from Córdoba in Argentina while he was sitting aside, off on his own — selling his delightful artwork – amidst all the activity at Art Basel in Miami last year.

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We’ve noticed that you use your iPhone as opposed to a standard camera to capture images.

Yes. I use the iPhone to photograph just about everything that is not an assignment. Most cameras these days are good. What matters is not the camera – but the eye of the photographer… the composition, the light, the moment. In addition, iPhones are less intimidating than huge cameras. And the entire process is shorter, as I have very little editing to do.

What’s ahead for you?

I’m now off to Art Basel in Miami and I am planning to return soon to Cuba, where there is a burgeoning street art scene.

Where do you think street art and graffiti are headed?

Street art will continue to beautify our cities. It will continue to become more mainstream, and there will be more opportunities for artists. I also suspect that there will be more art activism.

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Thank you! And do keep on doing what you are doing! We love it!

Images

1. Beyond on LIC rooftop

2. Meres mural in background with b-boys at 5Pointz in LIC

3. Icy and Sot in Astoria with the Welling Court Mural Project

4. Nychos at work for Coney Art Walls with Martha Cooper with camera

5. Sebas Rivas in Miami

6. Ces photographing his mural at Broadway Junction

All images © Karin du Maire

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

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